Phy-gital Roundtable: Breakfast Roundup from Germany and Netherlands

02 May '15 | Debjyoti Paul

German Shoppers: Meet Them in the Fast Lane to Phy-gital

15 January '15 | Ralf Reich

Shoppers Will Share Personal Information (But They Don’t Want to be “Friends”)

15 January '15 | Anil Venkat

Modernize or Perish: Property and Casualty Insurers and IT Solutions

14 January '15 | Manesh Rajendran

Benelux Reaches the Phy-gital Tipping Point: Omnichannel Readiness is Crucial

13 January '15 | Anil Gandharve

The New Omnichannel Dynamic: Finding Core Principles Across Industries

13 January '15 | Debjyoti Paul

Technology does not disrupt business – CIO day 2014 Roundup

02 December '14 | Anshuman Singh

Apple Pay – The Best Is Yet To Come

02 December '14 | Indy Sawhney

Digital transformation is a business transformation enabled by technology

01 December '14 | Amit Varma

3 Stages of FATCA Testing and Quality Assurance

06 October '14 | Raman Suprajarama

3 Reasons why Apple Pay could dominate the payments space

18 September '14 | Gaurav Johri

Beacon of Hope: Serving Growth and Customer Satisfaction

05 August '14 | Debjyoti Paul

The Dos and Don’ts of Emerging Technologies Like iBeacon

30 July '14 | Debjyoti Paul

What You Sold Us On – eCommerce Award Finalist Selections

17 July '14 | Anshuman Singh

3 Steps to Getting Started with Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

04 June '14 | Koushik Ramani

8 Steps to Building a Successful Self Service Portal

03 June '14 | Giridhar LV

Innovation outsourced – a myth or a mirage or a truth staring at us?

13 January '14 | Ramesh Hosahalli

What does a mobile user want?

03 January '14 | Gopikrishna Aravindan

Sir Roger Bannister and Marketing – Part 2

Posted on: 12 April '11

I’m back from the Forrester Marketing Forum in San Francisco, CA. It was a great couple of days of networking and education. In my previous blog, I told the story of Sir Roger Bannister becoming the first human to run a sub-4 minute mile. I told this story not just because I am an avid runner, but because I saw synergy between Sir Roger’s accomplishment and what I heard from industry veterans on what CMOs will need to do differently in the next digital decade.

Before I explain what I heard at the Forum, let me take you back to Sir Roger Bannister’s story. When Sir Roger finally broke through the 4 minute mile barrier in 1954, it was after numerous failed attempts. He ran 4:02 a few times and even a 4:01 mile; but never below 4:00. Scientists and sports writers had proclaimed that it would never be done-by Sir Roger or any other runner. Yet after Sir Roger eclipsed the mark, it was done 16 additional times in the next 4 years.

As far as we know, there were no steroids or other drugs that could enhance one’s performance back in the 50s. And if you ever saw the tracks that runners performed on or the shoes they wore, you know it wasn’t new age technology that helped Sir Roger get over the top! There’s no doubt that there was a physical element to Sir Roger’s achievement. Years of training and experience significantly helped. But there was an almost equal mental element to this accomplishment. Once Sir Roger showed the world it could be done, it put the other runners’ in a better mental position to do the same.

CMOs face a similar mental challenge in the next digital decade. Marketers need to break through barriers to help their organizations navigate and succeed. At the Marketing Forum, I heard this numerous times. Forrester’s CEO George Colony implored us to go out and have a “beer talk” with our CEOs. George said that we should explain in plain talk what our companies need to do to be successful. How many marketers do this today? The CMO of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group said we need to “challenge up” our innovative marketing ideas to the board level, because all that CEOs think about are 2 things-revenue and profitability. CMOs need to put their marketing strategy in these terms and develop a revenue mindset so it resonates with CEOs. Thomas Seclow, who leads the Marketing Officer practice at Stuart and Spencer, said that when CEOs contact him about a CMO search, they inevitably say they want someone on their team who will be curious, persuasive and take chances. Finally, Kraft’s SVP of Marketing Strategy Dana Anderson suggests that we need to “market our marketing more effectively.”

All this feedback from executives at the Marketing Forum reminds me of Sir Roger Bannister embracing the challenge of breaking through the first sub-4 minute mile barrier almost 60 years ago. Successful marketers will also embrace the challenges of the next digital decade, and move beyond a lead generation mindset to add the value that CEOs are looking for.

Good luck to all marketers in the quest to run their sub-4 minute mile.

Mindtree Blog Archives

Mindtree blog Archives are a collection of blogs by various authors who have independently contributed as thought leaders in the past. We may or may not be in a position to get the authors to respond to your comments.

  • Late Prof Randy Pausch in his book talks about the First Penguin – a concept where people who dared to take up new challenges were rewarded even if their idea flopped. For innovation to succeed, for new concepts to succeed we do need to provide investments in terms of time,effort and money. Unfortunately, in today’s economy, it is all about meeting revenue targets and the appetite for investing in innovation is on the decline. With the sheer effort to just stay on the track, even in the marketing arena, new lines of thinking are hardly seen or even not encouraged.
    I hope more people read your blog post, I shall certainly forward it.

    • Joe


      Thanks so much for writing. I will look for First Penguin the first chance I get….sounds interesting. I hope you’re well and breaking through your 4 minute barrier!


  • Geetha

    Dear Joe,

    Thank you for these two wonderful posts on Sir Roger Bannister and Marketing.

    We enjoyed reading about the ‘avid runner’ in you here:

    This is what Paul McKenna has said about the game-changing event that happened on 6 May, 1954 in his book, ‘Change Your Life In 7 Days’:

    “For centuries people had thought it was impossible to run a four-minute mile. Then on 6 May 1954, Roger Bannister did what all great pioneers do – he made the impossible happen.

    When I met Dr Bannister and we talked about how amazing it was that within a year of him breaking the four-minute mile, thirty-seven other people around the world had done so as well. In the following year, an incredible three hundred runners broke through that previously impenetrable barrier.

    The finest minds of the age had believed it was possible to do, and their beliefs became a self-fulfilling prophecy. (Some noted scientists actually suggested that the human body would explode if pushed to go faster than a four-minute mile!)

    It only took one counter-example – one person proving that what they had previously thought could not be done was possible – for everyone else to tap into that possibility within themselves.

    The human mind generalizes as a learning principle. For example, as a child you learn how a door opens and closes. Your mind then generalizes that learning to apply to all doors everywhere.

    This works equally well whether the learnings are useful or painful. Over the next seven days we are going to dismantle many of the negative generalizations you have made about the world and build positive ones.”

    Like you have mentioned, challenging all the self-limiting beliefs that exist in our minds and emerging as winners is indeed the need of the hour for everybody.

    Here’s wishing you great success in your running as well as in your professional role as CMO in MindTree.

    And may you have a blessed Holy Week and a Happy Easter with your family!



    • Joe


      Easter was wonderful and I hope you enjoyed Holy Week as well. Also,thanks for sharing Subroto’s blog. It is flattering to read.

      Ironically, just last week was the 47th anniversary of Sir Roger Bannister breaking through the 4 minute barrier.